Okay, @ Puretone Audio we have been getting emails and calls (sometimes the music is cranked and we can't hear the phone ringing - sorry!) from people asking why we carry certain manufacturers and if brand K's speaker line is really better than brand, oh say, BW.
It's fairly simple, as a small dedicated audio store we only sell products that we believe in and can recommend without hesitation - gear that is better than anything else we have heard at that specific price point. Our store is personal enough that we can focus on "the good stuff" and not worry about covering a ridiculous overhead and frappacino-chugging employees who won't look up until you are stacking blocks of cash on the counter.
Now carrying a product that "sells itself" may not be a common business practice in an audio marketplace in which dealer margins and purchasing deals dictate what a store pushes (and I do mean pushes) as "product du jour", but it DOES allow us to have total confidence that your system and components will do the ultimate goal - to make you LISTEN TO MORE MUSIC.
But back to the original point - we have made converts out of a few people that came in and heard KEF's XQ-20 speakers, for example, and said "my (multi-billion dollar that takes more time to power up than the Space Shuttle) system doesn't sound anywhere near that good".
Well that system does now, and again, the goal is to enjoy your collection. Apparently Robert Harley and the fine folks at The Absolute Sound magazine agree with us, as a good number of items we carry have been prominently featured in the 2009 Editor's Choice issue.
Here's the rundown with brief review snippets - for the full story, please pick up Issue 195 of The Absolute Sound (forgive me if I skip over anything, it's about 110 degrees in my computer room right now!). Manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) is in ($____)
KEF XQ20 ($1999) "a remarkably open and focused sound with stunning 3D imaging that remains convincing even when you sit off-axis" (Playback issue 20)
Integrated Amplifiers (under $1000)
Rega Brio 3 ($699) "a very good sounding well-built little amp at a fair price...the inclusion of a real phonostage is a nice touch. (Issue 167)
Integrated Amplifiers ($2000-$3000)
Cayin Audio A 88T ($2395/$2495 depending on choice of 6550 or KT-88 tubes) "this hand-built honey boasts a fit and finish that would do McIntosh proud...a sound that is sweet and seductive, yet also vibrant and dynamic" (review forthcoming)
Digital Sources (under $1000)
Rega Apollo ($995) "the finest sub-$1000 CD player that CM has heard...a richly textured sound that spans the entire audio spectrum" (Issue 186)
Turntables and Record Players Under $1000
Rega P1 ($395) "what you get is the pace, musical interplay, and involvement that makes analog special" (Issue 171)
Rega P3-24 ($895) "a greater dynamic range, a more convincing sense of air and space, a lower noise floor, richer tonality and improved bass...for an extra $375 one may add the TTPSU power supply which takes the performance to a significantly higher level" (Issue 191)
Turntables and Record Players $1000-$2000
Rega P5 ($1395) "When paired with Rega's Exact 2 phono cartridge, this 'table produced a highly musical sound that JH preferred to most digital players regardless of price" (Issue 180)
Tonearms Under $2000
Rega RB301 ($495) "musically compelling with excellent balance and good detail" (Issue 127)
Interconnects, Speaker Cables and Power Cords
Rega Couple Interconnect ($195) "fine resolution of textures yet without exaggerated transients or edginess" (AVguide.com)
Headphones and Headphone Amps
Cayin HA-1A Head Amp ($875) "An exercise in unalloyed hedonism, the sexy Cayin is actually a vacuum tube integrated amp..." (Issue 178)
Come on in and hear for yourself!